In the last 15 years, the people who work for Lloyd Industries Inc., a southeastern Pennsylvania duct manufacturer, have left for their jobs worrying if they would return home that night missing fingers or suffering from hearing loss. Not only did their employer allow them to operate machines without guarding to protect their hands and fingers, Lloyd Industries told OSHA that the required guards slowed production too much.
Lloyd Industries Inc. manufacturers the ventilation, duct and fire safety products used at places like New York’s Chrysler Building, Philadelphia International Airport, and the stadiums the New York Yankees and Baltimore Ravens call home.
Despite numerous federal inspections, warnings, fines and promises to stop putting workers at risk, the company’s repeated failure to keep its employees safe has resulted in approximately 40 serious injuries since 2000. These injuries include serious lacerations as well as crushed, fractured, dislocated and amputated fingers.
After an inspection prompted by a gruesome injury in July 2014, OSHA levied $822,000 in fines against Lloyd Industries Inc. bringing the company’s total OSHA fines to more than $1 million since 2000. OSHA has also placed the company in its Severe Violator Enforcement Program.
“William Lloyd and Lloyd Industries are serial violators of OSHA safety standards, and their workers have paid the price,” said Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Dr. David Michaels. “No employer is above the law. For 15 years, they have repeatedly put their employees at risk of serious injuries. This must stop now.”
In the July incident, the die on a press brake machine dropped on a worker’s right hand, resulting in the amputation of three fingers. The machine lacked required safety guards and had not worked properly before the incident – a fact of which the owner was aware.
Since 2000, the agency contends William Lloyd has shown a pattern of defiance toward OSHA safety standards. OSHA inspectors find violations, including the absence of safety guards to prevent serious injuries from moving machine parts, and Lloyd then agrees to correct the hazardous conditions and accepts OSHA penalties. However, similar violations are found when the inspectors return. In one instance, OSHA officials were forced to summon U.S. federal marshals to gain entrance to the plant when Lloyd refused to admit them, even after they obtained a search warrant.
During one inspection, William Lloyd complained to OSHA inspectors that the machine guards that protected his employees slowed production. He also made a conscious decision in 2013 to stop an audiometric testing program required to prevent employee hearing loss, OSHA found. The testing only resumed in December 2014, after OSHA’s investigation.
In its latest inspection OSHA issued 10 willful violations based on the company’s repeated failure to guard machines, and to provide annual audiometric tests. Additionally, Lloyd was cited for three willful, four serious and seven other-than-serious violations for electrical hazards, noise protection, and recordkeeping violations.
Each year, more than 200,000 American workers suffer cuts, lacerations and amputations from operating parts of dangerous machinery. Investigators often find various upsetters, power press brakes and forging machines used in the plant lack adequate safety mechanisms. Machine hazards continue to be among the most frequently cited by OSHA.
Incorporated in 1981, Lloyd Industries Inc. manufactures fire and smoke dampers. It employs approximately 70 workers at its Montgomeryville site and 25 employees at a second location in Orange Park, Florida. The firm’s workers’ compensation insurer is AmeriHealth Casualty Services in Philadelphia.
The company has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA’s area director or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.